Acción Local: The Inspiration Behind our Pro-Bono Web Design Marathon

(Para la versión en español, hacé click acá.)

Nestled in a colorfully decorated room in an unassuming building in Buenos Aires’ bustling  Once neighborhood, AMUMRA (Asociación de Mujeres Unidas, Migrantes y Refugiadas en Argentina) has set up the home base of its operations.  For the past 20 years, AMUMRA’s team of dedicated volunteers has worked tirelessly to support immigrants in Argentina and pressure the government to make important and much-needed policy changes.  A 30-minute bus ride away from AMUMRA headquarters, Tectonica’s team of designers and developers works at their computers to design websites for clients all around the world.  What do these two organizations have in common?  Two words: Acción Local.

Last year, Tectonica launched the first year of its annual, pro bono design and development marathon. Structured as both a competition and a hackathon, Acción Local encourages local NGOs and nonprofits in Buenos Aires or elsewhere in Argentina to apply for the chance to receive a free restructuring of their digital presence.  Last year, after receiving applications from numerous worthy organizations, Tectonica selected AMUMRA to be the recipient of a renovated digital space.


As a company specializing in working with NGOs, progressive politics, and social-positive businesses, all of us here at Tectonica were drawn to AMUMRA after hearing about how they combine political advocacy with the provision of individual and much-needed services.

AMUMRA pushes for broad political changes, such as the 2004 repeal of the terrible Ley Videla, left over from the dictatorship, but they are also involved in the minutiae of daily life as an immigrant.  Need help setting up a doctor’s appointment, figuring out how to procure proper documentation, or finding work?  Whatever the issue, AMUMRA’s involved staff of women volunteers - who, being immigrants themselves, have undergone the same experiences firsthand - make themselves available.

We’ll never be able to forget our first conversation with the organizers behind AMUMRA.  When we went to talk to them more about the work our business does, they loved the idea of a brand-new website, but were dismayed to tell us that on their low budget, there would be no way they could afford it.  When we reminded them that Acción Local was a pro-bono service that we offered - a fact that must have gotten lost in translation - they were overwhelmed by the prospect of finally updating their under-serviced website.



That first conversation ultimately led to the 48 hours of Acción Local.  Fueled by mate, coffee, and a passion to help AMUMRA, our team worked around the clock to revamp their image, branding, website, and general digital presence.  We offered NationBuilder training, strategy advice, and design help, and ended the marathon with a beautiful package to give back to the hardworking women of AMUMRA

Stated simply, last year was an amazing experience for us, beyond anything we could have expected (and to hear us state it less simply, read our blog from last year).  In our work, we only collaborate with businesses whose missions align with our own beliefs, and we always leave our client with a unique, professional, and high-quality website.  So of course, we didn’t expect that working with AMUMRA could possibly be all that different from working with any other of our deserving and amazing clients.  But working non-stop and in close proximity with the amazing women of AMUMRA let us experience first hand just how much of a difference a fully functional web presence meant for them.



After our experience last year, we are excited to announce the return of Acción Local for its second year.  Giving back to our local community falls perfectly in-line with our company’s progressive mission, and is why we are so enthusiastic about our decision to make Acción Local an annual event.  We will be following last year’s 2-day structure and are offering the same services to our selected NGO.  However, inspired in part by AMUMRA’s work and also by our commitment to promoting equality, we have decided for this year to focus the call for applications towards NGOs who strive to make a difference in the area of women’s health, transgender rights, feminism, or any other gender-related topic.  While we are proud to be living in a country where government recognition of LGBTQ equality has advanced significantly, Argentina suffers from disturbingly high femicide rates, violence targeting transgender people, and a dangerous ban on abortion (despite the fact that 40% of pregnancies end in abortion).

If you are an NGO in Argentina focused on promoting an issue related to gender, stay tuned for more details about how to apply to Acción Local and get the chance to renovate your digital space!  Runners-up will also be given the chance to meet with Tectonica to get tips on how to maintain an effective and professional online space for their NGO.

Update: Visit our Acción Local page to hear more about this year's competition!